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LeahMSWuofm, Clinical Social Worker
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 619
Experience:  10 years post-MSW experience
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Thank you for your previous help. Given my handicap,

Customer Question

Thank you for your previous help. Given my handicap, difficulty making friends and because of all of the obstacles that have kept me from being more sociable and productive, it was suggested that I seek out a more planned living arrangement in a group
home setting tailored for those with physical handicaps. that in this setting it would be people of similar backgrounds, needs, and could provide better opportunities to build social relationships. I am told this kind of facility//group home would also provide
medical care, personal attendants both of which are critically important. My first impression was that I was being institutionalized and would suffer a tremendous loss of freedom. Plus, locations were quite far away, some almost 2 hours from my current location.
Also, I feel that move into a group home, whether in individual apartments or dormitory styled, that I would be quitting, taking the easy route and or settling for safety rather than a living arrangement that could be much fulfilling. I was also told that
I have choices now. I'm relatively healthy. Live with family which affords me time to sort out my best possible future housing arrangements. I'm just confused and completely undecided what next step to take.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Camille-Mod replied 2 years ago.
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Expert:  LeahMSWuofm replied 2 years ago.

Hello! Thank you for writing to me again! I think the idea of seeking out a group home may be a really good option for you and is worthy of further exploration. What you have continued to state is that despite living with family, you still have felt lonely and unfilled in the way of your social life - in other words, for you, something is still missing.

I formerly worked in a senior living community and many of the people considering living there faced the same fears that you are contemplating. The truth that was always explained to them was that " the right living environment matters." Suddenly, they found themselves in a place where they could put aside other stressors because they had their needs met around the clock (as you mention - medical, daily help, food, social, transportation, etc.). They also had a boom in socializing with people whom they could relate to and whom could relate to them - both staff and peers. So yes, the fears are real and no one really wants to see themselves living in an "institution" butIi can assure you, sometimes this can be exactly what someone needs to thrive. And this is far from the easy road - the right home will allow and expect you to meet the needs that you are capable of for as long as you can. Some things will get easier on you but it does not mean you no longer need to take personal responsibility. It may actually allow you more opportunity to push yourself because some of the fundamentals will be in place..

My advice to you is to explore your options. Tour facilities that may be right for you. Take a really close look at them before jumping in and making too early a decision. If you are afraid of things like losing your freedom, seek answers about the group home's policies on this. You will likely be surprised. Understand the contract for living there so if it turns out you don't like it, you are well aware of your options for leaving. And along this line, be up front with your family who you currently live with. I am sure they want the best for you and hopefully support you in trying out other paths and new adventures and but would welcome you back if it proves to not be the right place for you. And your point about making these types of decisions when healthy and capable of doing so is huge;y valid. Sometimes our circumstances mean we no longer have choices and this can be devastating. Having control to explore your options, take tours, talk to people, and make an educated decision based upon what you like, want, and need will make the transition much more likely to be a success.

Remember, everything in life has trade-offs. So distance from where you live now may be a downside, but social aspects and the new routine may be a huge pro. Consider the old-fashioned pros and cons list and this should help point you on your way.

Good luck! I hope you find somewhere that just feels right to you. You deserve comfort and happiness, and sometimes, this may mean in an environment you hadn't previously foreseen yourself in. I could tell you hundreds of success stories when resistant people finally came to live under our roof in the community where I worked.


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